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Conquer your fear and join the fight against COVID-19

“I know the next few weeks will be challenging. There is no reason to be fearful, or to panic, but we need to take this disease seriously. Please, stay home. Make as few in-person contacts as you can.”

So said Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf this week as he announced directives aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19, the coronavirus that threatens all of us.

Panic buying is a side effect of this disease.

In our area, some store shelves have been emptied.

First it was toilet paper and antibacterial products.

Within days, it spread to other types of supplies, everything from canned foods to coffee beans to beer and alcohol.

This clearly demonstrates mass concern over having adequate supplies on hand to get through a period of social distancing and self-quarantining, even isolation.

It also shows an intention by many to heed the warnings being issued by top government leaders at all levels.

But what about those whose reactions are more of disbelief?

A 53-year-old Kentucky man who tested positive for the virus refused to self-quarantine. That state’s governor posted a guard outside of his home in recent days.

In Nashville, a bar manager on Saturday ignored warnings, instead insisting that “The show must go on.”

Other talk on social media shows an attitude by some — we believe they are in the minority — that our government is overreacting, that the common flu is more deadly, that there have been other diseases that have swept the land and killed many and yet we somehow survived without having to resort to extreme measures.

We’ve even seen some chatter that blames the media for making this out to be more than it is.

Look, the media, including the Williamsport Sun-Gazette, are here to gather information from credible health officials and government leaders and provide that information to the general public as it becomes available — in our case — on www.sungazette.com and in its morning print edition.

In the past week, the volume of emails to this newspaper has gone up considerably as any number of groups and agencies tried to get out word of cancellations, postponements and information motivated by social consciousness of this disease.

We believe the scientists who have put out the message that we need to “flatten the curve.”

What does this mean?

This means we all pull together — as a community, as a state, as a nation — and unite behind the common goal of defeating this disease, as it would kill far more without the measures that are being taken now.

It also means that we need everyone to get on board.

Millenials may be young and healthy, yet they also may be key to battling the pandemic.

If you are healthy, and many of us are at this point, be thankful.

Give praise.

Avoid crowds.

Stay positive.

Exercise patience.

Remember that we are a resilient group of people.

And continue to wash your hands.

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